Owczarski Wedding

We did it! The wedding is long past, but we feel like it happened yesterday.  We planned for an outdoor ceremony at Greys Lake on the terrace overlooking the lake. The week before we started to check weather forecasts constantly – because it was slighted to rain on our wedding day!! We had not thought of a back up plan (smart right?) so we scrambled and tried to throw some things together last minute. We contemplated buying 80 white umbrellas and having people stand out in the rain – or spending far too much money for a tent, that the City of Des Moines would not allow us to put over the terrace so we would have had to stand in the wet grass/mud….

But we were lucky, and although it did rain on the morning of our wedding, the weather was on our side and the day was lovely. It was sunny and warm!

I will never forget riding with Rene in that limo on our way to the reception. Those few moments hold a joy and excitement that will be hard to top. It was an amazing day, I couldn’t have done it without my family. They were truly lifesavers. My aunts and cousins did all of my flowers (they are rockstars), decorated the terrace/chairs at the ceremony with flowers, and set up the tables for the reception. So I all did on the day of my wedding was coordinate with them and then I was able to relax and get ready with my bridesmaids and brother! I am so lucky to have them!

The following Monday bright and early (4am was too early!) we headed for Charleston South Carolina. We had an AMAZING time!! We planned to do some exploring, and we were staying a night on the beach and needed a way to get out there, so we decided to rent a car while we were there. They upgraded us because it was our honeymoon, and we were off! Unfortunately not 5 minutes after picking up the car we were rear ended!! Luckily the person who hit us admitted fault and told the police officer that he didn’t see us at all and that he had in fact hit us. After that we made our way to downtown Charleston. Rene had found a lovely hotel that is called the Vendue Range.

Some brief history of the Vendue Range, as seen on their website:

Made up of several warehouse buildings dating back to the 1780s, great care has been taken throughout the years to preserve the historical character of The Vendue.


The name, ‘The Vendue’, comes from the vendue masters (or auctioneers) who worked in the area. French merchants utilized The Vendue, originally known as Prioleau’s Wharf, to conduct trade. Prioleau’s Wharf quickly became a favorite, until the trade business halted at the onset of the Civil War.


During the Civil War, Prioleau’s Wharf became a warehouse for blockade-runners. After the war, the building evolved into a warehouse for the fishing industry, and weary sailors looking for a place to stay encouraged the warehouse to add its first accommodations.


Rebuilt in 1872 by Ms. Ann Ross, 19 Vendue’s granite post and lintel system from 1839 was preserved. In addition, several of the rooms in 26 Vendue still feature historical components of the original warehouses, such as exposed wood beams and original Charleston brick.


The property lies within Charleston’s historic French Quarter Art District. Most of the buildings in the French Quarter were listed in the National Register of Historic Places prior to 1973 when a collection of mostly 19th century warehouses were saved from demolition by the “Save Charleston Foundation,” a group of local citizens who conducted a national campaign to raise money for that specific purpose.  The irreplaceable warehouses on Queen Street, State Street and Lodge Alley were then conveyed to developers who rehabilitated the properties into valuable commercial businesses.


Avocet Hospitality acquired The Vendue Inn (19 & 24 Vendue).


Avocet Hospitality acquired The Anchorage Inn at 26 Vendue, later to be restructured and combined with 24 Vendue. The Vendue Inn closed its doors on November 11th, 2013 to begin a $5.5 million renovation.


19 and 26 Vendue re-opened in 2014 as “The Vendue,” Charleston’s first boutique hotel dedicated to the arts, in all forms. The Vendue still carries the charm and structure of the original properties.


We were within walking distance to so many things! The only downside to the week that we were there, was that it was slightly cold and raining for most of the week. But we had a car, and excitement that couldn’t be stopped! The first morning we took a historic bus tour of the city and saw some beautiful architecture. We walked around the open markets for an hour or two and then went to get ready for dinner. We had made dinner reservations for ever night that we were there except for Monday. We ate at The Grocery, The Ordinary, Husk, and The Peninsula Grill. The food was amazing!!! I have to say that Husk was my favorite. But the Peninsula Grill was not far behind, and also held a surprise for us. Lesley, Rene’s sister, had called ahead and had bought us a Peninsula Grill cookbook! There was a card and the cookbook waiting for us when we arrived. A very special and thoughtful gift. We walked around the city, we went to Magnolia Gardens – a fascinating plantation outside of the city, took a ferry out to Fort Sumter, went to the Aquarium,  I had a whole day at the spa too! It was like a dream. It was perfect. Rene and I both were sad to come home!

One really nice thing was that every day you got a $50 credit at either the restaurant in the hotel, their rooftop bar, or the starbucks that is connected to it! Rene found that deal, which is given to those who don’t use Expedia/Orbitz/Travel.com/etc and book straight with the hotel.

Then on Saturday we checked out of the Vendue and made our way out of downtown Charleston and headed to Folly Beach. Rene had found a beachfront hotel!! Our view was of the ocean, and we woke up to the sound of waves. We spent the majority of our time at Folly Beach on the beach! But we did walk around a bit, we ate at two great restaurant, and then drove around and explored before we headed to the airport.


2014 was beyond amazing. It was a dream. I’ll never forget any of it. Here’s to a happy 2015!



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Beautiful view from the terrace at Greys Lake!

Beautiful view from the terrace at Greys Lake!

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Signing the marriage license in the limo before we say the vows.

Signing the marriage license in the limo before we say the vows.

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I couldn't look away. I was torn between laughing and crying the whole time! It was such a happy moment!

I couldn’t look away. I was torn between laughing and crying the whole time! It was such a happy moment!

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You may now kiss the bride!

You may now kiss the bride!

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Introducing Mr. & Mrs. Owczarski!

Introducing Mr. & Mrs. Owczarski!

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I made and decorated the cake myself. It is a lemon cake, with a raspberry reduction between the layers. The frosting is a vanilla buttercream.

I made and decorated the cake myself. It is a lemon cake, with a raspberry reduction between the layers. The frosting is a vanilla buttercream.

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Long Due Update


Wow! It has been so long since I’ve had the time to sit down and post. Rene and I are hitched! The wedding was more than I could have dreamed it would be. I will post pics of that as well.

With more time on our hands (turns out planning a wedding is time consuming!) we have been able to make significant progress on the house! Lots of cosmetic work to make things more comfortable. Enjoy the pictures!

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Updated House pictures

Here are a bunch of new pictures from around the house. So progress is slowing being made.

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Kitchen is up and running – August 2013

After a few months of not having a proper kitchen to cook in, the new kitchen is now up and running. We only have a few small projects left to do in the kitchen and they include:

  • Painting all the trim.
  • Replacing a 3-way light switch.
  • Adding back a piece of baseboard by the refrigerator.

I did end up having to run a new gas line to the range, since there was only a 220 volt plug behind the old electric range, and boy was it disgusting underneath the old range. Just take a look below. Continue reading »

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Inside and outside the house – July 2013

It’s been too long since our last posts of the house. So here are a bunch of pictures from inside and outside the house. So you can get idea of our progress so far. Keep in mind, these photo’s were taken around the end of July.

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Refinishing the floors

So as I mentioned in one of my prior posts. The floors in the main room of the new house are kind of messed up. Since once upon a time, it seemed like the main room was actually two separate rooms. Because when you look at the floor, it still has a brass plate on the floor, from where either pocket doors or french doors would have been latched to the floor.

But needless to say, our first go at refinishing the floors didn’t turn out so well. Since what we ended up doing was applying a furniture stripper to the floor, to remove all the over spray that was on the floor. But then when we applied polyurethane to the floor, we ended up having uneven coverage on the floor, so now the floors look kind of blotchy. So over the winter, we’ll have to rent a floor sander for the weekend and give the floors a heavy sanding to fix our prior mistakes. I guess live and learn.

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The house work in progress

So a couple of weeks have passed and I think that we’ve made some good progress on the house.

On the outside of the house, we did some re-landscaping in the front yard. And we ended up using my truck to rip out the small yew shrubs that were in the front of the porch. And for some strange reason, the prior owners had put down landscaping fabric in all the planter beds. But instead of cutting holes in the landscaping fabric for all the plants, instead they plants all the hostas’ and other flowers on top of the landscaping fabric. So because of this bizarre planting technique, all these plants had a really shallow root systems, and were on the verge of wilting.

Continue reading »

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First days in the new house

Looks like the third time is a charm. Because we were final able to close on a house last Friday. It’s a little bit on the dirty side right now. But over the next few weeks, we should have it all cleaned up, and move in ready by mid-July.

Below are a couple of pictures from the inside and outside of the house. So you can get an idea, of the task ahead of us.

Continue reading »

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Renegade garden

As Monika mentioned in her “No place for our plants” post. Getting in time to garden at my house has been a time luxury that neither of us have right now. But that isn’t to say that nature hasn’t decided that it’s going to keep on going in our absence. Case in point from the pictures below. My hops plants are alive (unruly) and growing away, as is the rhubarb, salad greens and green onions. And it even looks like I have two corn plants in my compost pile.

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Tulip Time in Des Moines

Talk about some crazy weather! Back in early May, the week started in the mid-70′s and by mid-week it was snowing and in the mid-30′s! Talk about a wild way to start spring!

Here are a couple of pics of the flowers in the front yard, before and after the snow storm in early May.

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